My question involves a condominium located in the State of: MARYLAND
I live in a 164 unit highrise condominium. One afternoon, as I exited the elevator to leave the building, my 15 pound dog was attacked by a
large Rottweiler. The owner of the Rottweiler quickly controlled her dog. My dog required two trips to the local vet. The owner of the Rottweiler promptly paid the $600 in vet bills and the issue between the two dog owners has been settled. There were no harsh words exchanged. There was no lawsuit involved.
The problem now is with the board of directors of the condominium. The by-laws specifically prohibit pets except for small dogs, cats and caged birds. My dog is obviously small. The Rottweiler is obviously large. In order to avoid similar (or worse) problems in the future, I've asked the board to enforce the by-laws provision excluding large dogs.
The by-laws also specifically indicate that lack of enforcement in the past does not preclude enforcement in the future.
The board contacted our attorney for advice. According to a letter from the board, our attorney confirmed that there is, indeed, a prohibition of large dogs. The attorney also apparatently gave the board three options for action:
1) Strictly enforce the by-laws.
2) Change the by-laws; or
3) Continue our current policy of allowing all dogs as long as no problems arise..."
The board has opted to do nothing.
It's my contention that the board's lack of action allows a dangerous situation to continue and that the board (and therefore the general ownership) is subject to a costly lawsuit if another such problem occurs after the board has been given notice. The board says that any such action would be only between the owner of an offending dog and the injured party - even if the injured party were to be a small child instead of another dog.
The board wants to do nothing. They say the by-laws are silent on the issue of how a small dog is defined and on what to do if a large dog is brought onto the premises.
1) Although that is true, isn't it the board's job to define "small dogs" and remedies for bringing an inappropriate dog to the building?
2) Can the board (or the association) be sued for allowing a dangerous condition to continue?